(Our Special Correspondent)
New Delhi: A history created. The Lok Sabha has finally has cleared after 7-hour deliberations on Wednesday. It got 454 votes in its favor as only two against and incidentally, it happens to be the All-India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), if one has to believe the TV channels. The Bill aims to provide 33 per cent reservation to women in Lok Sabha and state assemblies.
The bill proposes that the reservation will come into effect after the next census and delimitation exercises are conducted and continue for a period of 15 years.
The Bill received the support of 454 votes in its favour and just 2 votes against it.
Congress Parliamentary Party Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, who led the party’s side in the debate in the lower house over the bill, said that the grand old party is in support of the bill and is also concerned. She said that the women of India have waited to take up their political responsibilities for the last 13 years, and the Congress demands that the bill be implemented with immediate effect, but a caste census should also be done.
“Congress party supports this Bill. We are happy regarding the passing of the Bill but we are also concerned. I would like to ask a question. Indian women have been waiting for their political responsibilities for the last 13 years. Now, they are being asked to wait for a few more years. How many years? Is this behaviour with Indian women appropriate? INC demands that the Bill be implemented with immediate effect but Caste census should also be done and arrangement for reservation of SC, ST and OBC women should be made…”
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the government wants increased participation of women in the development process of the country.
If the Bill becomes an Act, it will ensure that 33% of the seats in Parliament and state assemblies are reserved for women. The Bill, named Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, was tabled in Lok Sabha by Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal on Monday and will be taken up for discussion in Rajya Sabha on Thursday. However, even after clearing the Rajya Sabha hurdle, the implementation of the legislation may still take some time as the reservation will come into effect only after a delimitation exercise based on the next census is completed. Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said that the census will be carried out after the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
The Opposition targeted the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Centre over this clause. The Aam Aadmi Party on Wednesday slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Central government over the issue of the Women Reservation Bill and said that this is a ‘Mahila Bewakoof Banao’ Bill. AAP MP Sanjay Singh called the bill another “jumla” and said that women and political parties understand that these are election tactics. He said that if the Centre wants to implement this bill in 2024, then AAP will stand by it. He further stated that there is no point in bringing a bill that will probably be passed in 20–25 years.
Deeming it a “betrayal of the women’s movement”, Congress MP Tewari criticised the bill and pointed to its Clause 334 A, which implies that the reservation won’t take effect before 2029, contingent on census and delimitation. “If the government was serious about it, they should have brought women’s reservation now,” he remarked.
Aam Aadmi Party leader and Delhi minister Atishi alleged that the bill is to befool women ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. “Why can’t Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi provide reservations to women in the 2024 elections without waiting for the census and delimitation. If he truly cares about women, why doesn’t he implement the bill on the existing 543 seats in the Lok Sabha?” she asked.